Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Steven A. Zinn; Kumar S. Venkitanarayanan

Field of Study

Animal Science


Master of Science

Open Access

Campus Access


Poor maternal nutrition often due to poor health of mother during gestation leads to either slow growth or reduced fetal size. We hypothesized that poor maternal nutrition during gestation impairs bone and adipose tissue development of offspring. A total of 24 ewes were fed a diet of 100% (Con), 60% (Res), or 120% (Over) of NRC requirements beginning at day 114 ± 10 of gestation. Lambs were euthanized at birth (n = 3/treatment) and 3 months of age (n = 3 to 5/treatment), and bones were collected to determine bone area, bone mineral content and bone mineral density by DEXA scan. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were isolated at birth from bone marrow. To determine formation of osteoblasts and adipocytes, MSCs were cultured for 2 to 3 weeks in differentiation media and stained with Alizarin Red and Oil Red O, respectively. At birth, femur bone area (22.6 ± 2.7, 20.6 ± 3.3, and 26.0 ± 0.8 cm2; Con, Res and Over, respectively) was increased in Over groups when adjusted for body weight (P = 0.01 vs. Con). Cell culture experiments did not demonstrate treatment effects (P ≥ 0.2). There was a tendency for reduced mRNA expression of Tbx3 (P = 0.1 vs. Con) in Res groups, and reduced expression of P2Y14 receptor in Over groups (P = 0.03 vs. Con). Expression of CEBP-β was significantly reduced (P 0.02) in both Res and Over groups. In conclusion, poor maternal nutrition has an early impact on bone development of offspring.

Major Advisor

Kristen E. Govoni